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UW-Stevens Point economic impact on state, community is huge

By Portage County Business Council

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point pumps nearly $408 million into the state and local economy annually, according to a newly released economic impact study. That annual contribution to the economy creates and supports 5,690 jobs, $16.7 million in tax revenues and other benefits, according to the study.

“This data confirms what many businesses and individuals know and appreciate: UW-Stevens Point is a major driver of both the local and state economies,” said Chancellor Bernie Patterson, who shared findings of the study with faculty and staff at the annual State of the University Address yesterday. The study was completed by NorthStar Economics Inc. of Madison.

UWSP’s economic impacts come from two sources: the direct spending of faculty and staff members, students, visitors and university operations; and indirect and induced spending, which results from direct spending cycling through the regional and state economy. Spending from businesses that benefit from the direct spending of faculty and staff members, students, visitors and UWSP operations creates additional indirect or induced economic activity that results in jobs and taxes generated in the state.

Direct spending in the state by UWSP faculty and staff, students and visitors totals more than $171 million. That feeds the economic engine that in turn generates more than $236 million in indirect and induced spending.

The benefits are obvious to business leaders like Jeff Martin, regional chief executive officer of Ministry Health Care, a major employer in Central Wisconsin. “The university has a tremendous impact on businesses of all kinds throughout Central Wisconsin,” Martin said. “In addition to its economic impacts, it provides all kinds of cultural and educational opportunities to the region. They have a direct impact on recruiting professionals to the area.”

The breakdown of direct spending shows that students are the top contributor with $78.4 million in annual spending followed by university employees at $46.5 million annually, university operations at $25.4 million and visitors at $21 million. In turn, that spending generates more than $156 million in spending by private businesses, $10.5 million by local governments, $4.4 million by not-for-profits and $512,380 from households.

The jobs impact includes 1,162 faculty and staff members directly employed by UWSP. Student spending supports 2,688 additional jobs in the region and state, operational spending 893 jobs, visitor spending 722 jobs and employee spending 226.

Tax revenue is another area of impact. Faculty and staff members pay more than $4.5 million in state income and sales taxes and local property taxes. University operational expenditures produce more than $1.7 million in tax revenues through creation of jobs that generate income, sales and property tax payments. Student spending creates $7.6 million in tax revenue, visitor spending $2.5 million and employee spending more than $420,000.

The study noted that state revenues provide a smaller percentage of the university’s total budget than in the past. When the university’s economic impact was studied in 2006, the university received 29.6 percent of its budget from state taxes. That percentage dropped to 28 percent in 2009-10, when the state invested $43.1 million in state tax dollars in the university. The total budget for 2009-10 was $154 million.

“Unlike many public programs, UW-Stevens Point actually attracts money into the state and creates significant economic activity, jobs and tax revenue,” Chancellor Patterson said. “For every $1 of state tax investment in the university, there is $9.46 in economic activity in the state. As the study notes, this rate of return is possible because of the state’s long-term investment in the university and the resulting infrastructure and reputation for quality at UWSP.”

For more information, please contact: UWSP University Relations and Communications, Stevens Point, WI 54481-3897
Fax 715-346-2042